The Shield

First came the Christmas episode of the BBC version of the Office where Dawn drives away in the taxi with her butthead of a boyfriend. It looks like that’s the end of Tim and Dawn. And then we watch as she opens the oil paints.  Tucked inside is a napkin with a picture Dawn drew of Tim and the words, “Never Give Up”.

Watch Tim describe his coworkers and how he doesn’t feel like his relationship with Dawn will result in a happy ending. “Life isn’t about endings…it’s a series of moments”

The scene is so well done that it still feels genuine to me after dozens of views. It was the perfect ending to a show that few Americans had heard of. Even today, many fans of the US version don’t realize how great the original is.

The BBC version of the Office is my favorite TV show of all-time. It runs a total of 14 episodes over two years or about half the number of episodes typical American series produce. I like the American version of the show, but it lost much of the raw emotion of the BBC version. What the BBC had was Ricky Gervais.

I enjoy Dexter, Mad Men, and Breaking Bad. I had never seen the Shield or heard much about it until last year when I read a number of articles ranking the best shows of the decade. The Shield showed up on most of them along with Arrested Development, The Sopranos and The Wire, which many regard as the best television drama ever.

I’ve been making my way through the first two seasons of the Shield this summer. It’s a gritty (makes CSI look like Dora the Explorer) cop drama that follows a task force filled with cops who do a lot more than merely stretch the rules. It’s difficult to classify any of the characters as good or bad, just as in everyday life. I can’t think of another show since the Office where I care more about the characters starting with Vic Mackey. Donna Bowman said it best: “There’s never been a TV cop like Vic Mackey, who painted a blue uniform the most frustrating, vigorous, incredible shades of grey.”

Tonight I watched the seasonal finale of season 2, and I knew I was watching something amazing. Something that will stick with me for a long time. Like Dawn’s taxi ride.

I don’t know what I’d compare the Shield too. I didn’t watch Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blue or the Commish. But I can tell you it’s one of the best shows I’ve seen, and I highly recommend it if you enjoy this type of television.

Before it’s over, it may replace the Office as my favorite show. Here’s a video of the final scene from the season finale. The song is “Overcome” from Live.

The Shield–Season 2 Finale